Crime & Courts

Crystal Lake man given 9-year prison sentence in disabled girlfriend’s overdose death

Jeffrey J. Hauck, 33
Jeffrey J. Hauck, 33

The defense attorney for a Crystal Lake man sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison in connection with his disabled girlfriend’s overdose death vowed to “appeal everything.”

Jeffrey J. Hauck, 33, is one of three McHenry County residents indicted in the fatal overdose of Hauck’s girlfriend earlier this year. Stephanie Phillippi, 32, of Crystal Lake, died March 5 after court records state she injected drugs that contained both heroin and fentanyl.

In handing down that nine-year sentence Wednesday, McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt said Hauck has been in drug treatment programs four times, two of which were when he was younger than 18. Although Wilbrandt said he doesn’t believe that Hauck intended for Phillippi to die, “his actions led to a death, and he has to pay for that death.”

But Hauck’s defense attorney, Special Public Defender William Bligh, argued that there was no proof he was guilty, saying Hauck ignored many of Phillippi’s text messages before her death, in which she was inquiring about obtaining drugs from Hauck. He refused to give Phillippi drugs, Bligh said, but Hauck gave a packet to a co-defendant, Kane E. Kellett, 34, of Crystal Lake.

“[Kellett] wanted to deliver the drugs to Stephanie because he wanted to be a nice guy,” Bligh argued.

Assistant State’s Attorney Brette Dunbar said Phillippi “had always been a victim of Jeffrey Hauck,” adding that Hauck previously pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery for choking her.

Dunbar called for a 15-year sentence, noting that Hauck will have to serve 75%. Bligh asked for six years.

Hauck didn’t speak during his sentencing.

In a victim impact statement from Phillippi’s mother, Hope Koidahl, read aloud by her son-in-law, Paul Dalby, Koidahl said her daughter fought “a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis” with only Tylenol to treat the pain until she was 18 years old. After undergoing a double lung transplant, her doctor prescribed opioid painkillers and Hauck, himself an addict, “preyed on Stephanie.”

Koidahl wrote that Hauck physically abused her daughter and brought her heroin to her hospital room once when she had a lung infection. Phillippi overdosed in the hospital, Koidahl said, leaving her with brain damage. Phillippi barely could walk using a walker, her mother wrote.

“‘There is an emptiness and sorrow now that cannot be filled,’” Dalby read from Koidahl’s statement.

Hauck was convicted Sept. 27 during a bench trial of one count of drug-induced homicide and two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

Wilbrandt wrote in that September decision that sometime during the morning hours of March 5, co-defendant Melissa R. Ohlson and Hauck arranged to go to Chicago to buy drugs. They stopped at William Roetling’s Crystal Lake home, where Phillippi lived.

Hauck was Phillippi’s boyfriend of three years, but Roetling refused to let him or Phillippi’s friends enter the home, where she lived rent free, Wilbrandt said.

When Hauck arrived at the house, he called through a window for money to buy drugs and she threw down a prescription pill bottle containing $60. Hauck and Ohlson bought crack from someone en route to Chicago, smoked it and continued on their way. Hauck bought from a second person, obtaining 12 bags while only paying for 10 because he was “a bulk customer.” Hauck gave seven bags to Ohlson and kept five bags before Ohlson drove them to Crystal Lake and dropped him off at a Burger King.

Hauck gave one bag to Kellett, who allegedly passed along the drugs to Phillippi.

Kellett, who is charged with three counts of drug-induced homicide and two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, is due back in court Dec. 5, potentially for a plea.

Ohlson, 41, of Woodstock, who faces the same charges, is due back Dec. 4. Kellett and Ohlson also are accused to delivering heroin and fentanyl to Phillippi, including less than 1 gram of a substance containing heroin, court records show.

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